A Conversation with Sharon Draper on her ‘Out of My Mind’ Book Series

Home ยป A Conversation with Sharon Draper on her ‘Out of My Mind’ Book Series

About the Guest(s): Sharon M. Draper is an accomplished author and educator, widely recognized for her contribution to young adult literature. Her career as an English teacher spanned over 30 years, engaging with students from sixth to twelfth grade. Draper’s literary portfolio includes books that address diverse and compelling topics, with “Out of My Mind” being among her most notable works. She’s won awards, including the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. With her lifelong devotion to creating profound connections with young readers through her writing, she has touched numerous lives and inspired countless individuals.

Episode Summary: In this episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, we are joined by Sharon Draper, an exceptional voice in middle-grade literature whose books have captivated readers around the globe. Draper takes us behind the scenes of her creative process during the conversation, sharing the inspirations and challenges that shape her memorable characters and their stories.

The episode begins with a deep dive into Draper’s most beloved character, Melody, from the “Out of My Mind” series. The audience is given a unique window into Melody’s world, exploring self-acceptance, belonging, and disability representation. Draper outlines her meticulous approach to research, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in crafting a character like Melody, who has cerebral palsy and navigates a myriad of personal and social challenges.

We hear about Melody’s growth and journey as she searches for acceptance both within herself and in the society around her. The conversation touches on Melody’s experiences in summer camp in “Out of My Heart,” her friendships, and her quest for inclusion. The episode concludes with an exciting teaser about the upcoming third book in the series, where Melody’s adventures will take her out of the country, and Draper’s personal stance on the critical issue of book banning.

Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/4OjP10FCk_IT0clQqtXndRcQ0PA

Key Takeaways:

  • Sharon Draper’s long teaching career and journey into writing began with a challenge from a student and led to the publishing of numerous impactful books for young readers.
  • Draper emphasizes the importance of realistic character development, particularly when addressing disabilities in literature.
  • In “Out of My Heart,” Melody’s character faces new challenges and experiences, such as summer camp, fostering themes of friendship and acceptance.
  • There’s an exciting anticipation for the third book in the “Out of My Mind” series, where Melody will continue to break barriers and undertake new adventures.
  • Draper strongly opposes the current trend of book banning and advocates for the freedom to read and access to diverse literature.

Sharon M Draper: https://www.sharondraper.com/

MCIE: https://www.mcie.org/

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